With Father’s Day around the corner we asked one of our dad friends to share what Father’s Day means to him. Our guest, Cole Johnson is a father of seven sweet children and husband to his high school sweetheart, Daisha, whom he has been married to for 15 years. Cole loves playing ukulele with his eldest daughter, coaching his son’s football team and taking his youngest on walks to find bugs. Here are his thoughts on the meaning of Father’s Day!
Father’s Day was never a big deal to me and I never really appreciated it until one stressful weekend when I was traveling and couldn’t be with my family. My wife and kids had never done much for me on Father’s Day – a finger-painting of me, a cheap tie, maybe some pancakes and a card – so I didn’t think I would miss it much. But when the day came and went without any new socks, a homemade oven mitt, or even a quick and sticky hug from one of my littles… I about died from loneliness.
As I sat lumped upon the hotel bed watching an infomercial and thinking about my wife and kids a profound gloominess began to overtake me. At that point I recognized Father’s Day for what it was. A day I was thanked, a day to be seen, a day to be filled up. As a self-proclaimed emotionally unflappable man I recognized that I wasn’t immune to the severe need to be loved and appreciated or to have a special day set apart just for me. Like my wife and children I wanted – nay, REQUIRED – an occasional reminder that I’m missed, respected, and even adored. The love I’d felt on previous Father’s Days was the oil that kept my Dad-mobile running smoothly. A vehicle that requires very little maintenance and runs on just a few drops of gratitude and affection.
For dads, the little things ARE the big things. There may not be any ‘big things’ for fathers; kids can’t further their dad’s career, make the car payment, or even fix the dishwasher. But, on Father’s Day, our children have the perfect opportunity to thank us for what we do and love us for how we do them. Those homemade clay mugs and handprint collages may be the only tokens of the ‘what’, the ‘how’, and the ‘why’ we work so hard in our career, make the car payment, and fiddle with the appliances.
For Father’s Day this year I couldn’t be more excited to eat an over-cooked omelet, or try to decipher a messy crayon drawing, and maybe get a some snuggles from a quiver of stinky kids. Not because those things are a big deal but because these tiny acts are the ONLY deal. Father’s Day is my kids’ day once a year to thank me, fill my tank, and keep me going for 364 more. I learned my lesson and will never be away from my family again on Father’s Day weekend!
Happy Father’s Day to all of the very special dads who make life a little sweeter.Read More
Hello May! Mother’s Day is coming up soon. Are you ready? We all want to show the special moms in our lives how much we love and appreciate them. Flowers and a night off from cooking or the usual routine for mom is always appreciated, but how about thinking outside of the box to show your appreciation for her. Here are some unique Mother’s Day Gift Ideas!
Support mothers around the world: One thing that no one tells you about being a mom is that the worries of world weigh heavy in her heart. She will see her children in children around the world. With the advent of 24-hour news, the world’s suffering is broadcast each and every day. There is always a longing to help. There are countless organizations that do amazing work. Lending money in micro loans to help women support their families. A monthly donation to sponsor a women and writing letters of support. Is she especially concerned about the refugee crisis happening? Or does her heart lie more local? Either way, if her child is older, sit down with them and have them help pick a charity to give a donation in her name. This is a meaningful way to show your love and it will also touch her heart to know her child is learning such an important lesson.
The gift of time alone: Does she need time off? A ‘break’ from being a mother may be just what the doctor ordered this Mother’s Day! A few guilt-free hours alone in the afternoon can be absolute bliss! Is it hard for her to get away from the kids for a bit on a regular basis? Think about using our babysitting service, so mom can have some weekly time to read a book, get a mani/pedi or a massage. Or perhaps what mom needs is more quality time! Enroll in a class just for mom and child. Yoga, art, swimming or a mommy and me would be a wonderful gift to help mom spend more one on one time with a child.
Help check off mom’s to-do list: Spring is the time of year when moms are compiling lists of things that need to be done! Spring cleaning can be a big task, but think about how you can make it a bit easier for mom. Have the children help clear out the toy room and donate everything they don’t play with anymore. Does the garage have a collection of old bikes, sports equipment and other odds and ends that no one has touched in years? Get rid of it for her! Donate, throw out and recycle all those items that are no longer in use. Perhaps there is a list of things that need to be fixed around that house. If you can’t do that yourself, surprise her by hiring a handyman for a few hours to take care of that leaky faucet and broken lock. And of course, every mother would love a clean house. Arrange for a professional deep cleaning! When a home is clean, mom can certainly relax easier!
Whether mom needs a break, more quality time, help with the house or a way for her to show her concern and love for others, there are many options out there! The most important thing you can do is tell her you love her, you appreciate her and thank her for all the hard work she does.
Educated Nannies wishes you and your loved ones a very Happy Mother’s Day!
Natalie Oman, LA based mom of two daughters and a yorkie, encourages moms to take 5 minutes (or less) to improve their lives at her Instagram @5minMommy. Below are some tips to help you organize your playroom.
Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Where do they come from? How many do you actually have? Why do they seem to multiply at night?
As moms, nothing can be more frustrating than wrangling toys. At least for me anyway…
Do you struggle with the toy-multitude like I do? I have been searching “toy storage,” “toy organization,” “playroom hacks,” and “purging toys” since the day my first kid was able to hold a toy.
So what do we do? All of us exasperated moms that clean up the puzzles only to turn around and discover a mess of toy cars, so we clean up the cars only to turn around and discover a mess of crayons and coloring books…. and so it goes. on and on.
Well, it has taken a lot of trial and error, but I have come up with some ideas for you on how to minimize the clutter and maximize the play. Free printable checklist below.
Designate a Play Space and take stock of how much space you have. The space can be in their bedroom, in a playroom, or in part of another room (like the living room). Make sure this space can only be used for playing and it is a “yes” zone for the kids- free from breakables, adult decor, etc. If you are designating a spot in their bedroom, make sure there is still ample space for bed and sleep- putting toys too close to the bed can cause some little troublemakers to stay up and play all night instead of going to bed… not that my kids would do such a thing *ahem* Figure out how much storage you have- 6 bins? 2 book shelves? one wall of cubbies? It is important to take stock of the space you have instead of falling into the “I bet it could fit here” syndrome of packing things in. That’s not what this is about. This is about streamlining and organizing to maximize FUN and PLAY and LIFE- don’t you want that for your kids and yourself?!
Compile and group ALL the toys into categories and decide what to keep and what to give away/throw away. Taking stock of all that you have can be really helpful when you are deciding what to keep and what to toss/donate. So get them ALL out. Every last one. This process is gonna take some time so give yourself time to do it- don’t try to do this with only 15min of spare time and a whiny toddler following you around…unless that’s all the time you have in which case it’s better to start asap. Categorize toys into groups- building (blocks, legos), Figurines (dolls, action figures, plastic animals), Puzzles, Stuffed Animals, Dress Up Clothes, Home (play food, play plates/cups, play cleaning supplies), Arts/Crafts, etc. Immediately purge the broken toys. Next purge all the toys with missing pieces. Next purge all the toys that you dislike (I cannot stand certain toys that my kids play with so now I just toss them and save myself the aggravation. Somehow I think my kids like having a mom that doesn’t say, “Mommy doesn’t like that toy, can you play with something else?” cause what’s the point of having said toy if you can’t play with it…) Next purge all the toys your kids don’t play with- this can be hard for us adults. I’ve asked my 3 year old a few times to fill a box with toys to donate and every time she will toss something in that makes me cringe. I keep thinking, “Well, what if your Grandma comes to see us and asks about that toy?” or “but that toy probably cost your Aunt $100…” Stay strong, mama. If it is truly something you cannot part with because of family obligations or whatnot, set it aside for a toy rotation bin for the future. If they get something for Christmas that they aren’t into, save it for July and see if they like it then. Take a look at what you have left and continue to purge until you are comfortable with the amount of stuff taking up space in your life/house.
Find a spot for each category of toy and label it. Try to think in terms of ease of use, frequency, ease of cleanup, etc. It might make sense to keep puzzles higher up so they are out of reach of smaller children and put stuffed animals in bins on the floor. Then LABEL each area (with pictures or words depending on kids age). You can search Pinterest for free toy labels with words and pictures. You really want to make sure you label in a way that your kids understand- my 3 year old can put her own toys away as long as there is a picture on each bin! If the spot gets full before you put all the toys of that category away, do some more purging. Seriously, if all the stuffed animals don’t fit into the bin unless you sit on the lid while trying to close it, can you realistically expect your kids to do the same when they clean up the room? No? Well those 3 extra stuffed animals strewn about the floor does not a clean room make. In our house we have a chest of dress up clothes, two small plastic bins for stuffed animals, one bin for legos and building toys, one bin for small hard toys (birthday party favors, animal figurines, hard plastic alphabet letters), one bin for dolls and accessories, one bin for books, one drawer for puzzles and there are a couple free standing toys in our empty cubbies. Everything has a place.
Toy Bin Rotation (optional). Some moms find it easier to put a few of each category of toy into different bins- one for each day/week/month. So a bin for December might have a few building blocks, Holiday books/toys, a puzzle, and one musical instrument whereas a bin for July might have bubbles, swim toys, summer-time books/games/etc. (unless you live in the southern hemisphere). If you do a daily/weekly/monthly toy rotation, label bins with number in rotation or a month and decide that when one goes in, others go out. This works especially well for seasonal books/toys- ie. Christmas books go in December bin, Pumpkin books go in October, etc. It also works really well if you have incredibly limited play space, short toy attention spans, or you have too many toys to keep out all at once. I confess that the first time I tried monthly toy bins was just after a move to a new house. I had already purged the heck out of most of our belongings. When I started putting toys/books into the bins, I had enough toys to stock their room with the basics (legos, dress up clothes, etc) PLUS a monthly bin of seasonal toys for 8 months!!! Can you believe it?! We live in 1200 square feet and the girls play space is in their bedroom… What?! They were only 3 years and 6months old at the time. How do such tiny humans acquire so much stuff?! I clearly had more purging to do, LOL. ea
Teach your kids what goes where. This is one of the most important steps. Don’t expect their little brains to understand your organizational scheme without walking them through each bin/shelf. Show them the labels- if your child can’t read, make sure there are pictures. Open each bin so they can see exactly what toys are in there. If the label shows legos but you also want them to put in the building blocks in there too, open the bin and tell them both should live there. Show them what a clean playroom looks like and tell them that at cleanup time, this is what it needs to look like. Help them at clean up time the first few times as they learn how/where to put things away.
Create a plan for new toys. Giving gifts is a joy- especially giving toys to children. So it goes without saying that there will be more toys coming. Make a plan for how your family responds. Maybe you do “one toy in, one toy out” rule. Maybe you make a habit of “Holiday season donations” and mark the purge/donating on your calendar. Maybe you decide that at holidays and birthdays you need to ask for experiences, memberships, playdates, or cash for savings rather than toy presents. Whatever you decide, make sure the entire family knows the rule and is on board with the implementation.
What are your tips for the playroom/space? Comment with your tips and tricks.
Kerstin Kuhn is a food writer, mom and founder of Little Foodie Club, the Los Angeles baby food delivery company that is transforming the way babies eat and learn about food.
Has anyone ever told you that “food before one is just for fun?” It’s one of those catch phrases new parents will hear a lot but just like so many common myths out there (like going outside during an eclipse when pregnant will give your baby a cleft palate), it’s exactly that: a myth.
Food before one is so much more than just for fun. In fact, it is more important than at any other stage of a child’s development. Not only do babies from six months on need adequate amounts of iron to develop healthily – a nutrient that breast milk or formula alone cannot sufficiently provide – it is also in these very early stages of experiencing flavor that babies’ palates and food preferences are shaped for life.
First Tastes and Memories
The more variety of fresh ingredients and different tastes babies are exposed to right from the beginning, the more likely they are to grow up to become healthy and happy eaters. And this already starts before they’ve even had their very first mouthful of solids.
Scientists have discovered that not only are the flavors of foods mothers eat passed on to babies through amniotic fluid and breast milk but babies begin to form memories of these flavors even before they are born. One study, for instance, found that babies, whose mothers often drank carrot juice during pregnancy and nursing, happily ate twice as much carrot-flavored cereal compared with babies whose mothers avoided carrot juice. On the flipside, babies, whose mothers consume a lot of junk food, will be much more likely to be drawn to unhealthy and processed foods. What this means is that the foods a mother eats while expectant or breastfeeding can result in her child’s preferences for these foods for a lifetime to come.
Vegetable and Variety
Once babies start to eat solids, variety is what’s most important. “Children are very receptive to new tastes [during weaning] and we want to take advantage of that opportunity by introducing a great variety of vegetables during that time,” says Dr Alison Fildes, a research psychologist at University College London, whose study found that starting babies on a variety of simple vegetables during the first 15 days of introducing solids makes them significantly more willing to try, accept and like new vegetables later on.
So the conclusion is simple: Give your baby lots of healthy foods from the start and you’ll have a healthy and adventurous eater. Feed them a repetitive diet of bland tastes and you’ll end up with a fussy one.
Easy As Pie – Or Not?
All this makes a lot of sense and seems pretty straightforward, right? But the reality is that starting solids can be extremely daunting for new parents. When do you start? How do you start? Which are good first foods and which aren’t? How often do you safely introduce new ingredients? And what if your baby chokes or has an allergic reaction?
These are just some of the questions parents might be asking themselves and with the internet being a jungle of conflicting information, it’s no surprise that often it’s anxiety rather than happiness that rules mealtime.
21 Days To Solids
At Little Foodie Club, we understand that starting solids can be daunting. That’s why we have designed the Little Foodie Club 21 Days To Solids Plan: to help, support and enable parents to introduce their baby to solid foods with confidence and ease.
Developed in conjunction with a leading pediatrician, the plan helps you to introduce a new ingredient from our carefully selected range of organic vegetables and fruits each day for 21 days, paving the way for a lifetime of healthy eating. Our plan comes with a handbook to guide parents through the process and beginnings of introducing solid foods, from when a baby is ready to start, to what you’ll need to get started, how and when to feed your baby, and troubleshooting tips; plus a fun meal planner for each day of the process.
So if you want to give your baby the best start to a lifetime of healthy eating and also make food before one fun but need a little help in getting started, Little Foodie Club is here to support you all the way.
Order your Little Foodie Club 21 Days To Solids Plan now and get $10 off using promo code EDUCATEDBABIES17 at check out.
Establishing deep connections with children helps them feel safe, supported, and deeply invested in. By building quality connections with your child you demonstrate that you value your relationship and want to protect it at all costs. Another benefit of building strong connections with your child is that it will foster a cooperative attitude. The child will be more likely to cooperate because he/she values connection and doesn’t want to lose it.
The list below offers helpful tools to increase the connection you have with your child:
Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions foster connection with children because it encourages them to engage in conversation. Close-ended questions such as “How was your day?” are not specific and won’t get much more than a one word response. Instead, try asking questions like: “Who did you play with today?” or “What was something cool you learned about today.” As your child shares what’s important to him/her, you will feel more connected with one another.
If you do something wrong, apologize. We all make mistakes. When we do it causes a disconnect in the relationship with the one we hurt. When you fail, apologize to your child and ask for their forgiveness. Apologizing will help repair the relationship, build trust, win their heart, and restore your connection.
Create an environment of connection by seeking to understand and not react. It can be really difficult to respond with empathy when your natural response is to lecture your child when you disagree. If you can resist the urge and instead seek to understand your child’s point of view, you will strengthen your relationship. Your child will remember your desire to connect over winning an argument.
Identify how your child feels loved. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The 5 Love Languages and in the book he identifies 5 different ways people receive love which he calls love languages. By identifying your child’s love language and speaking it you will connect with her heart and strengthen your connection. To take the love language quiz click here.
Let your child know you’re on his/her side. In the classic book by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish titled, “How To Talk To So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” the authors encourage parents to communicate you’re on your child’s side even when you set a limit. If your three year old is yelling for Cheerios but his older sibling just finished the last bite, let him know you would give him a bowl if you had more, but you ran out. Sometimes children, especially toddlers, simply need to know you’re on their side, connected to their desires, and you care about them. This stops many a tantrum!
If you have connection tips, please feel free to email us at email@example.com and we will share them in a future blog post!
(photo credit : bossip)Read More
Finding that perfect nanny for your child can be an overwhelming process in itself. Add in payroll, taxes and the idea of being a household employer for new parents and it gets to be daunting. Educated Nannies has teamed up with our experts at HomePay to make sure you have all the resources you need to hire a nanny, and take away some of that fear. Here are some great tips for employing a nanny legally!
Your Tax Responsibilities
As a household employer, you must withhold Social Security, Medicare and California state disability insurance taxes from your nanny’s paycheck each pay period if she earns $2,000 or more in a calendar year. Federal and state income taxes are optional to withhold, but we highly recommend it so your nanny doesn’t end up with a large tax burden or underpayment penalties at the end of the year.
Additionally, you’ll be required to pay the employer’s portion of Social Security and Medicare, as well as federal and California unemployment insurance taxes, and the California Employment Training Tax. The threshold for having to pay unemployment insurance taxes is $750 in a calendar quarter, so even if you hire a short-term nanny, you may be responsible for these taxes without having to pay Social Security or Medicare taxes.
The good news is, when you do all of this correctly, you’ll be eligible for tax breaks can offset a large portion of these taxes. Many families that use HomePay save more than $2,000 each year and we’re happy to help you do the same!
Hourly Pay & Overtime
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), your nanny is classified as a non-exempt worker. This means she must be paid on an hourly basis and receives overtime. Combining federal and California state law is a little tricky with determining when overtime is required, so hopefully we can help explain it:
Note: There are additional overtime requirements for nannies that work 12 or more hours in a day or 6 or 7 consecutive days in a workweek. Please call HomePay at (888) 273-3356 for details if this employment situation arises for you.
Mandatory Paid Sick Time
Household employers in California are required to provide up to 3 days (24 hours) of paid sick time each year as long as their employee works at least 30 days. Sick time accrues at 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, but families can choose to offer the full amount upfront if they choose. Unused sick time can roll over to the next year, but families can cap their nanny’s total paid sick time to 48 hours. Families do not need to pay for unused sick time if the nanny is terminated and they can begin using their sick time 90 days after they begin working.
This all may seem like a lot of information to take in, but HomePay is here to help you make it easy to manage. We understand every family has different payroll, tax and HR needs and we’re happy to provide a personalized consultation so you feel comfortable paying your nanny on the books. Just give us a call at (888) 273-3356 or visit us online at www.myhomepay.com for answers to all your questions.
(photo credit : TWI Copy)Read More
Cheers to 2017! For many of us, the New Year means reflecting on the past year and making positive changes for the upcoming year. Children can also benefit from self-reflection and by setting goals for the future. Educated Nannies has some tips to share on how kids benefit from making resolutions!
Make it a Family Tradition: The best way to teach children the importance of New Year’s resolutions is by making it part of the family tradition. Educated Nannies encourages families to sit down with your children and reflect on the past year. Take the time to talk about your accomplishments and goals both as individuals and as a family. As part of your discussion, talk about ways you can make a difference within your family, school, or community.
For older children, encourage them to make a list of their own accomplishments and goals. For the littler ones, they can draw a picture, or you can jot down their ideas. Resolutions for the family might include unplugging from electronics during dinner and sharing daily highlights, being more physically active on the weekends, or committing to volunteer a few times a year. Your child’s resolution might include helping to clear the table, making sure to write thank you notes for gifts they receive, or helping a younger sibling with their homework.
Be a Role Model: It’s important for parents and nannies to be role models. If children see you picking up trash off the ground, donating to a cause, using kind words, and exercising, they are more likely to join in. If you lead by example, children will understand the value of setting and keeping goals. Celebrate the small victories in life! If your goal is to drink more water, cheer each other on. If your child’s goal is to improve upon his/her reading skills, make it a priority to have 20-30 minutes of reading time each night. Encouraging one another goes a long way!
Keep Things Positive: When making New Year’s resolutions with your children, it’s important to keep things positive. You don’t want to create a laundry list of things your children need to change or a list of items that are too hard to accomplish. Focus on the positive things they have accomplished last year and ask them, “What are some of the things you did that you are most proud about this year? Is there something you think you could do better? How can you make a difference not only in your life, but for your family and the community?”
Celebrate Accomplishments: We all know that feeling of meeting a goal. Your heart starts to beat faster. You feel this sense of pride. You may even experience perma-grin! Children also relish that thrill of accomplishment, especially when their parents are acknowledging it! It’s important to remember to praise your children for meeting their goals along the way. This will help them to stay focused, and continue to work on their resolutions throughout the year.
What are some of your New Year’s resolutions or traditions you share with your family? How do you make sure you stay on track throughout the year? What do you do to celebrate your accomplishments? Please comment below. Educated Nannies want to know!Read More
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Hanukkah and the Christmas holiday season is quickly approaching, and many parents are still searching for that perfect holiday gift for their nanny, housekeeper, teachers, and tutors. Educated Nannies has some great holiday gift ideas for your nanny this holiday season!
Year End Bonus (most popular): A bonus for a nanny is an extra special “Thank you!” for dedicating time all year long to your most precious littles. A typical bonus is either one or two weeks pay depending on how long the nanny has been working with your family.
Gift Cards: Is there a special restaurant, retail or online store your nanny likes to shop at? Would she enjoy an afternoon at the spa or getting a mani or pedi, but would never splurge on herself? Gift cards make the perfect gift for a nanny who is always putting the needs of others first!
Lessons or Memberships: Does your nanny enjoy dancing, drawing, or learning a second language? Does she/he workout, enjoy cooking, or taking photographs? Gym memberships, enrichment classes or lessons are another way of treating your nanny.
Unique or Homemade Gifts: Etsy offers a variety of unique gifts for everyone. Perhaps a homemade scarf and matching hat? Maybe a special pair of earrings or a necklace that will remind her of your family. Framed photos of the kids, or a Shutterfly photo book filled with memories shared with your family.
Fun Holiday Options: If your budget permits, fun holiday options include: frequent flier miles so she/he can go home for the holidays, a weeks’ vacation at your time-share, a gas card or helping to buy a computer. If your budget is limited, consider a gift of time and pop home a few hours early to take over for your nanny so she/he can get a jump start to their weekend.
Last but not least, remember the taxes: While this can sometimes be overlooked, please keep in mind that all bonuses (cash or gift), are taxable income to the employee and must be reported on all employment tax documents.
If you have any questions regarding holiday, year-end gifts or bonuses for your nanny, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to help and be of service!
It’s time to celebrate your nanny! National Nanny Recognition Week is September 18-24. This is a special week set aside every year to honor your nanny and show her how much you appreciate everything she does for your family. It’s a time for your children to show gratitude to their nanny for being such a positive role model. Remembering to say “Thank you” to your nanny throughout the year is so important, and here are some ways to make her feel extra fabulous this week!
1. CREATIVE APPRECIATION
If your children are musical, have them sing a song (or write a poem) to thank your nanny. It will make her smile and it’s super creative for the kids to write their own lyrics.
2. DRAW A THANK YOU CARD
Are your children great artists? Have them create a special thank you card for your nanny.
3. PAMPER YOUR NANNY
Is your nanny working 10 hour days? Gift your nanny a relaxing day at the spa or treat her to a massage.
4. GIFT OF EDUCATION
Has your nanny always wanted to take a special class to add to her list of skills or learn another language? Sponsor her to attend the International Nanny Association conference, take a cooking class, or purchase Rosetta Stone in her language of choice.
Tell your nanny how much you appreciate her, and then gift her a bonus or a health insurance stipend to contribute to her well-being.
6. WORDS OF KINDNESS
Simply say thank you and tell your nanny how wonderful she is. It feels good to be loved and hear positive things!
7. PAID DAY OFF
Treat your nanny to a paid day off. Many nannies work long hours, so they will really appreciate finding the time to visit the dentist, get a haircut, or treat them to a mani/pedi. Feeling polished is a win/win for everyone
8. THROW A NANNY PARTY
Decorate the house, make some cupcakes, put on your nannie’s favorite music, and celebrate her awesomeness!
9. DINNER AT A FAVORITE RESTAURANT
Many times nannies spend hours preparing meal plans for the week, grocery shopping, and cooking delicious meals. Treat your nanny to a night off from cooking and send her out to her favorite restaurant.
10. MAKE A DONATION
Do you already spoil your nanny and treat her like part of the family? Maybe there is a cause that is near and dear to your nanny’s heart? You and the kids could donate your time or make a kind donation? Get creative and think outside of the box!
HAVE A FABULOUS WEEK CELEBRATING YOUR EDUCATED NANNIES!Read More
For many parents spring cleaning doesn’t just happen in Spring, it hits during the month of August just before the start of the new school year. The lazy days of summer all of a sudden turn into panic as the upcoming school year looms around the corner. In an attempt to calm oneself and get organized, you can make lists of the ‘to do’s’, ‘to buy’ and the ‘to go through’. These lists may work or have quite the opposite effect and merely served as reminder that you are anything, but calm and organized. What’s needed is a step back and a look at the big picture. Back to school can be a fresh start and you want to start it with your best foot forward. In order to do this turn those lists into three concepts. Discard, organize and mindfully purchase.
Discard: This is a great time to organize closets, dressers, toys, old school work and art! Go through all your child’s clothes and shoes and throw out any that they have worn out. Did your kids outgrow any clothes or shoes before they were worn out? If they are only gently used, don’t forget to donate! This is a great time to go through toys as well. Kids get busy when school starts with homework and after school activities. They will naturally have less time to play with all their toys so donate any toys they are no longer interested in. They probably won’t even notice!
Many parents keep everything their child brings home from school. It just seems to precious to immediately toss in the recycling! But after a year of gathering and watching your child’s school work grow into a mini volcano; it’s time to sit down and figure out what is their best and toss the rest.
Organize: Make way for any new school clothes. Create space for all the goodies your child brings home from school. Create a space for important school documents that need parents attention and response. Have a designated spot for your child to keep their homework, close to pencils and supplies needed to complete it. And last but not least, a spot to put all of the school work and fun art they bring home. Having a place for all of these important school items not only keeps your house clutter free, it helps prevent lost work and helps show your child just how important school is.
Archive and store your child’s best work, art and accomplishments. You can keep it simple with a 3 ring binder. It’s easy to pull off the shelf and not only you will enjoy looking through it but your child will as well.
Organize your child’s clothing. Make it easy for them on busy school mornings to find exactly what they are looking for. Separate t-shirts, tank tops and long sleeves. Have them help you so they remember where everything is.
Will your child have any after school sports or extracurricular activities? If so, figure out before they start where their equipment will be placed before they get into a habit of throwing it on the couch when they walk in the house.
Mindfully purchase: One way to create less clutter and less items to throw out is to be thoughtful about what you buy in the first place.
After discarding and organizing your child’s clothing it is easy to take a glance and figure out what they really need for back to school. They might not need everything.
Think about buying items that will last longer than just one school year, even if that means they are a bit more expensive. Replace plastic disposable baggies with reusable items such as stainless steel or durable plastic. This won’t just save you money, but will be a good lesson for your child about helping the environment. Perhaps your child, like many, would love to get a backpack featuring their favorite character. Often those backpacks last only one year, if that. Compromise with a character lunch box or binder. Your child will be happy and may not complain when you urge them to get a better quality backpack in a favorite color that will last a couple of years.
Remember to think of back to school as a fresh start for you and your child. After discarding and organizing it should be easier to see exactly what you need and more importantly, what isn’t needed. So take a breath of fresh air, discard, organize and mindfully purchase.
*Photo credit: Polkadotchair.comRead More